Modern scientific techniques were introduced to farmers by SSK in the intervention villages of Chandauli district in UP, in partnership with HDFC Parivartan, the HDFC CSR. This resulted in doubling the yield of wheat in 2022 as compared to yield in 2021.
SWI technique was new to the farmers. Initially, it was very difficult to influence them. Various rounds of meetings were conducted explaining the importance of SWI. An exposure visit was also held where farmers from the Varanasi district communicated the efficacy of the technique. Eventually, the farmers agreed. Subhas Chandra, a farmer who belongs to Dhapri village was one of the beneficiaries who learned the approach of SWI. He says that as the SSK team had motivated them they agreed to take the risk this time by practicing this technique in 10 biswa land. (In the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, for example, 20 biswa is equal to 1 pucca bigha while 10 biswa is equal to 1 kuchha bigha). Abiding by the new method, he later realized that it takes comparatively lesser seeds. Subhash belongs to the village farmers group, where they were also supported with a seed drill machine. This has been a huge help in the process of sowing. So far, he is satisfied with the growth. Yet, when asked that is he confident enough to take this practice ahead, he harvested the yield 40% more than before.
Adding Techniques to Farms
Sanju Chauhan, a marginalized farmer from Hindwari Village, couldn’t study much due to their family’s financial setbacks. He started working from a tender age. Due to lesser land holding, he barely earned enough. Under HRDP, he was sought for practicing scientific technique-based wheat cultivation. Though he hesitated when the SSK team convinced him for doing it only in ten biswa land as a part of the demonstration, he agreed. His initial observation was that under SWI Technique only 20% of seeds were required for cultivation when compared with the conventional method. This shows how it minimizes seed wastage to a considerable extent. He also acknowledged how the spacing between each plant has led to an increase in the density, size, and quality of the plant before. Also, there have been instances earlier where the crop couldn’t take the pressure of heavy winds and resulting in lodging. This time no such instance was observed.
Results that are worth taking a risk
Under HRDP, farmers' groups in each of the ten villages were supported with a seed drill machine. The idea behind this was to facilitate the process of sowing. The seed drill machine ensures that the soil loosens and is aerated. It consumes lesser time in sowing seeds and also places them in a specific position, preventing seed wastage. Rampati, a farmer from Bharchha village belongs to the farmer group. He made use of the seed drill on his farm and also cultivated wheat through SWI technique. Based on his observation of tillering and density, he has predicted that the yield would double this season. Yet, he was dissatisfied with his own efforts. Since it was the first time, he practiced this technique, he was anxious. He realized that this led to some mistakes on his end. “We are looking forward to the next season where we will cultivate paddy using this technique more effectively. This time even the seed drill moved fast due to which seeds weren’t placed effectively and some areas were left barren. A few farmers kept the farmland too moist, which led to seed spoilage. They immediately sowed again in the right way realizing that SWI doesn’t require a lot of water. Now we learned the subtle technicalities through these experiences.”
“The total seeds required per ten biswa land has reduced by 60 percent. We will replicate this technique for rice cultivation as well to reap maximum benefit. It is interesting how all the farmers who earlier were against it have started promoting this technique!” - Rambriksha Prasad, Annapurna Kisan Samuh, Barchha Village·
Chedilal, a member of the farmers' group explained how the SWI method has increased the yield on his farm. He explains, "Earlier I used to sprinkle 20kg seeds per 10 biswa area to get a yield of 2-3 Qlt wheat, but through a new method, of which we were very skeptical about, I sowed only 8kg seeds using the seed-drill machine to get a yield of 6Qtl from 10 biswa land area." Babloo, another farmer said that he collected a yield of 18 mann=7.2Qtl (1mann=40kg) from 10 biswa land area which last year produced only 4 mann that is only 1.6Qtl last year through the traditional method.
The above images show the wheat stalk under progress, where image(i) on right shows the stalk originated through the SWI technique while the image (ii) on left shows the wheat stalk from the conventional method.
“When SSK team approached farmers in my village, barely anybody took interest. Nobody believed in them, even after convincing them to try SRI Technique, many did not follow the technicalities. But I proceeded as explained by the experts and can observe the difference. It is indeed a technique developed for the benefit of poor farmers. Expenses will drastically reduce and income will increase if carried on a large scale.” -Tribhuvan, 38, Vikas Kisan Samuh, Barhuli Village
When asked about how SWI method seems a better option than the conventional method, Rampati said that the use of Urea based chemical fertilizers was reduced this time. Slowly the ratio of organic fertilizers will increase. “Composting manure the right way was new learning. Earlier we used to add manure directly on fields, the agriculture expert told us that when through the composting mechanism, the manure is decomposed. The heat is eventually reduced and then can be used on-farm for better yield.” Rampati is also learning the effective technique of making compost by himself under the support of HRDP by HDFC Bank CSR.